Safety concerns remain over repainted cycle lane

A PAINT job aimed at breaking the “optical illusion” that causes people to trip and fall in Keynsham High Street’s cycle lane has failed to impress some in the town, who remain “bamboozled.”

Contractors painted new double yellows along the road on April 11 and changed the solid white line along the edge of the cycle lane to a dashed line.

Paul Roper, Bath and North East Somerset Council’s cabinet member for economic and cultural sustainable development, said: “This mitigation should make the change in levels clearer to pedestrians and prevent further trips and falls.”

It comes after scores of people have tripped and fallen since the cycle lane was installed by the council two years ago.

There is a kerb and a drop between the pavement and cycle lane, a white painted line between the cycle lane and planters and bike racks, and then another kerb that drops down to the road. One person who fell called it an “optical illusion.”

The cycle lane was painted red in August 2022, but people have continued to be injured, with around three people reporting falling each month ever since. Now the council hopes that turning the solid white line into a dashed line will fix the problem.

But many Keynsham residents out and about on the High Street on the first day since it was painted remain concerned.

Asked if he thought it would stop people falling, Jeff Gardner, 74, said “not a bit.”

He added: “They are trying to bring your attention to the line, I can see that, but I don’t think black is going to bring people’s attention to it.”

He said he had seen several people fall in the cycle lane and said: “If you were working in industry, you would never have this because it’s a trip hazard. You’d definitely never have a step there and a step there.”

Derek Francis, 78, warned that the drop was the problem. He said: “Get rid of these kerbs and just have a white line.

“I’m very careful because if I fall over I’ll have had it.”

Jean Culverwell, 77, said: “Nobody falls down the Temple Street end because it’s a normal road, but here you have got to have your wits about you.

“If you wear varifocals like I do, you are completely bamboozled by it.”

Almaira Hughes, 69, said: “I have fallen over myself. I tripped several times.”

She also uses the lane as a cyclist but warned that, because bikes only go along it in one direction, many pedestrians don’t realise it is there and could step out in front of riders.

Mr Gardner added that some cyclists can come along the cycle path at real speed, although he stressed it is not everyone.

One woman who preferred not to be named said she thought the new dashed line might help to stop the falls.

She added: “I use the walkway, the pedestrian crossing, so it hasn’t really affected me.”

Keynsham residents waited about a month and a half for the painting to be done. B&NES Council announced it in February but said the work would be carried out “at the earliest opportunity,” weather and contractor availability allowing.

The decision to turn the solid line into a dashed line was controversial. Alan Hale (Keynsham South, Conservative), the council’s member advocate for road safety, warned in February that the changes planned by the council are not those which auditors recommended. They had suggested putting tactile paving along the kerb, but the scheme’s designers said this could cause more confusion.

Mr Hale said: “It seems to me that the council administration have spent good money on an audit but, having received the results, they together with the officers and the design team have decided to dismiss what they have been told.”

John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporting Service